January 2020 – VHTS: Soaring to Unprecedented Heights – Via Satellite

January 2020 – VHTS: Soaring to Unprecedented Heights – Via Satellite

It wasn’t so long ago that we hailed the era of High Throughput Satellites (HTS), which made it possible to deliver high-speed broadband data through narrow spot beams — enabling spectrum to be used, and reused, more efficiently.

But as satcom enters the 2020s, the days of HTS systems with speeds of 100 Gbps are about to become as nostalgic as iPods.

With a new decade upon us, satellite manufacturers have their sights set on the next iteration of HTS —super-high-capacity satellites that can deliver up to one terabyte of data, and in doing so, support a wider breadth of consumer, commercial, and military applications. Frequently referred to as Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS), the latest batch of post-HTS satellites are characterized by flexibility, power, and speeds of 200 Gbps and up that enable an optimal Internet experience to end users, over land, air, and sea.

“If you look at the Cisco VNI index and how much capacity is going to be consumed over the next 5 or 10 years, the story’s always the same,” says Dave Rehbehn, vice president of Hughes’ International Division, which is overseeing the production of an ultra-high density satellite named Jupiter 3 (designated EchoStar XXIV) slated for launch in 2021.

Hughes Network Systems, along with satellite manufacturers and service providers like Thales Alenia Space, Viasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, and others, is one of a growing number of HTS developers with its sights set on higher and higher ambitions.

But with all of the commotion around VHTS, one has to wonder if the next generation of super powerful HTS can keep up with escalating demands.